Speaking following the most recent meeting of the Farmers Charter of Rights Monitoring Committee, the ICMSA Deputy President said that it was now essential the Department delivers on commitments given at the meeting with regard to GLAS, BPS and TAMS II. Pat McCormack described the ongoing delays in GLAS payments as a complete disaster and he said the onus was squarely on the Department to work through the outstanding cases and get them cleared for payment immediately.
“It’s worth putting the GLAS matter in a context: many of those awaiting payment applied for GLAS almost two years ago and still have received no payment received despite complying with the full terms and conditions of the Scheme. We have called on the Department to immediately issue the 15% Balancing Payment for those GLAS 2 applicants who have had their inspections and are therefore eligible for payment. GLAS + payments are also outstanding and must be issued immediately to farmers who have encountered significant financial difficulties as a result of land designation”, said Mr. McCormack.
Turning to the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme and Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme that opened for applications on 13th March and will close on 15th May 2017, Mr. McCormack noted that this is the last year for paper applications with only online applications being accepted for 2018 – a development he said was hasty in terms of both computer literacy and Broadband speed. “In fairness to the Department, they have given a commitment that they will work with all applicants in 2017 and 2018 to ensure they have access to online applications and they’ve committed to holding a number of clinics over the next few weeks at various locations across the country to help applicants. Each year and for a variety of reasons some farmers will miss the application deadline and incur penalties on their BPS. To address this, the Department have undertaken to send a reminder text message in advance of the closing date to ensure all applications are submitted on time.”
The ICMSA Deputy President stated that there are a number of individuals who have inadvertently submitted TAMS II payment applications which include the VAT element which is not eligible for payment. “The Department have stated that where the VAT element is clearly visible on the receipt they will be able to resolve this issue and get these cases cleared for payment. But in cases where a penalty applies or where the VAT element is more complicated, they do not envisage payment being cleared in the immediate future. This is not acceptable to us and the Department must ensure that all payments are made within Charter deadlines. There is a growing frustration with the performance of the Department in terms of meeting their own deadlines and commitments that they have freely entered into – that is particularly true of the GLAS fiasco. We don’t think it’s unreasonable at all to expect the Department to meet the commitments it itself has given as part of the Farmers Charter process”, said Mr. McCormack.
Ends 10 April 2017.
Pat McCormack, 087-6168758
Deputy President, ICMSA.
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758ICMSA Press Office